NDP leader warns Wafd party to reconsider elections withdrawal

The Ruling National Democratic Party Assistant for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mufid Shehab called upon the Wafd party to rethink its decision to withdraw from the second round of parliamentary elections scheduled for Sunday.

Shehab said that the Wafd party's position "is in need of review and careful consideration from a political standpoint, given the influence this may have on the party itself, and the likelihood of internal fissures among its leadership."

In statements Thursday, Shehab warned of "a negative impact on political life and parliament" as well as potential legal consequences. "The High Elections Commission declared that candidates who have entered the elections and advanced to the runoffs stage cannot retract their nomination after the period for retractions has ended," Shehab said.

Shehab also called upon the Wafd party to "put the greater interest of the nation first, and stay the course in parliament."

"The political process is characterized by activity, movement, and working together, not by silence and resignation," Shehab said, describing the Wafd party's withdrawal as "unacceptable."

The NDP leader argued that political reform is best served by participation: "I imagine that a candidate or party may have some observations, or criticisms, or suggestions in the political process, but the way to achieve them is participating in elections, not silence."

Amid deep divisions and clashes between members, the executive bureau of the liberal Wafd Party, Egypt's largest licensed opposition party, decided on Thursday to bow out of the parliamentary contest before Sunday's runoff elections. 

Wafd officials described the polls as having been marred by fraud, violence and thuggery.

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